I’ve decided after reading the audience comments on Crunchy that I’m going to say spoiler warning, but seriously, if the end of this episode surprises you, you’re not paying attention.
I wrote my preliminary thoughts about the new, ongoing series Magical Girl Raising Project over here after seeing episode 1. The show’s synopsis on Crunchyroll promises a magical girl death battle. However, the first episode, after its initial glimpse of blood and gore, is pretty tame, and this second episode is surprisingly low-key as well. It gives the impression that, instead of revelling in violence from the get-go, it’s planning to build gradually and then, in the final episode, go full Battle Royale.
Never go full Battle Royale.
Episode 2 opens with Fav, the creepy mascot character, announcing to the various girls that he needs to cut their number by half because there is insufficient “mana” in the region to sustain all sixteen of them. Fav’s thin excuse as to why he created too many magical girls in the first place indicates that he has an ulterior motive, but there are no hints as of yet as to what that motive might be.
But instead of telling them to duke it out with one another as I’d expected, he tells them that they are now in a competition to do the greatest number of good deeds and thereby collect
grief seeds magical candies. Whoever has the fewest candies at the end of the week will be eliminated.
In the episode’s final moments, we (but not the girls) learn what “eliminated” really means.
Although it continues to be a respectable, workmanlike project, my opinion continues to be mostly negative—though it is, again, too early to form a full judgment.
Episode 2 is not as well-structured as it ought to be. The first episode is focused: it stays the entire time with the POV character, Koyuki/Snow White, and though it mostly follows a stock setup, it has some thoughtful moments: for example, after Koyuki first becomes a magical girl, she leaps for joy and accidentally smacks into the ceiling because she hasn’t yet learned to control her superpowers. It’s a well-placed touch of whimsy.
This second episode, however, jumps around so much that we don’t get the chance to form a full impression of any of the girls, and no story arc develops. It begins with the cute witch Top Speed and the moody ninja girl Ripple, who have a tense partnership as well as an ongoing rivalry with the bloodthirsty gunslinger Calamity Mary. Then there’s a brief battle sequence that isn’t shabby.
Then the story switches back to Snow White and La Pucelle the girly man, who save a couple from a burning building.
Then we meet Nemurin, a lazy magical girl who can travel in people’s dreams.
Throughout, we also catch glimpses of a haughty girl called Leader, who’s basically a run-of-the-mill mean rich girl, and who has a troupe of other magical girls she pushes around.
Leader and Calamity Mary are both poised to be the biggest troublemakers in the inevitable conflict.
Altogether, the episode is unfocused and gives the impression that the writers are having trouble working the story arcs for sixteen characters into what is presumably a twelve-episode series. This show is based on a light novel, so they’ve probably had to condense the plot, and it looks like the character development is suffering as a result.
That being said, there are no dealbreakers here. I’m interested in continuing the story. But it doesn’t build much on what we already got last week.
But I’m thinking, what with so many magical girls these days finding a world of darkness and horror instead of the sugary happiness they envisioned, I will, as a public service, give a bit of advice. If you are thinking about becoming a magical girl, do not make a contract with any familiar who does the following:
- Talks in a creepy monotone.
- Ends his sentences with some cutesy nonsense word. This is not a sure indicator that he’s evil, but it is an indicator that he’s an annoying little bastard.
- Drives a white van with tinted windows.
- Wants you to collect some object of uncertain purpose.
- Wants you to sign in blood.
- Promises to make your wishes come true.
- Promises candy.
- Uses a phone app. This also is not a sign of evil, but magic from a phone app is hella lame. I mean, c’mon.
There. Steer clear of these familiars, and your magical girl experience is significantly more likely to be pleasant.
ADDENDUM: I went and looked up the light novels. The light novel series, has run to ten volumes and is apparently ongoing, and there are also two manga adaptations. This anime presumably follows only the first book. It looks like, aside from the anime, there are no versions of Magical Girl Raising Project in English. But the light novels have a TVTropes page, which depict them as pretty much what you’d expect: a series of battles, backstabbings, and brutality in which anyone can die.
I had some trouble finding the credits for the anime series (the credits aren’t translated in the dub), but located them here. The director of the anime is Hashimoto Hiroyuki, who’s best known for the CGDCT series Is the Order a Rabbit?, a rather different sort of show.
Comments from the staff can be found here, and they appear to imply plans for a long-running series, unless I’m misreading.